Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, Sept. 17

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Regarding the opt-out of Obama's speech

To the Editor:

What message is this sending the students about the President? Parents that do not agree with the President addressing their kids on the importance of education - what does that say? There was not much of a deal made when the former President Bush and Laura visited the schools and read to the kids to show the importance of reading. Is this really what this is about?

In my whole life I have never seen such disrespect to the President of the United States. We all have different views. Like some people do not think that school should be let out because of a horse show, but I presume people with authority can do what they want to - unless they are President Obama.

The statement concerning bell to bell instruction and not wasting a single minute of instructional time stated by Mr. Gray, did this instructional time happen to include allowing the kids to vote at school (as in an election) having a poll to view the number of votes cast or was that just to see who their parents were voting for? I really do not care if they watch it or not but what message is this sending to our young people that the President of the United States and his message is not important enough to watch? What it is saying is "Look over him ... he is not important ... in our minds he does not exist."

What is reflected in the home will come out in the community. What is said and done in the home teaches a child who they should accept and reject in life. I do not accuse you, I only ask you to do as the Bible says: "judge yourself (see where you are)". Forgive me if I bring church and state together. Some believe it should not be separated, some believe it should be seperated and some bring it together when it is beneficial to them.

It is not important whether or not the speech is heard, but it is important what is in a person's heart as to why they do not want the speech heard. This part really got me "You never know what's going to be said." Have we, as Mr. Robert Gibbs mentioned, hit a "silly season" when the President of the United States can't tell kids in school to study hard and stay in school? Where were these people when President Bush said that there were nuclear weapons and called a war and now 5,000 people lost their lives because of something that was not.

The statement made by conservatice critics saying President Obama is trying to promote a political agenda and overstepping his bounds. A lot of things that have been said are not true. I ask you this question: "Could this be a conspiracy?" Conspiracy - the act of conspiring. To act or work together toward the same goal. A group planning to commit an unlawful or evil act. Could this be the reason some of the schools are opting out?

I have heard so many false rumors, things opposite of what the President said. I know that Tennessee is basically a conservative state, but it's sad when a state will not allow the President of the United States of America to bring unity to all of the states, countries, towns, and homes. How long can disunity, animosity, and hate run before it eats like a cancer? Ask yourself this question: Have I been accustomed to a certain way of life and it is hard to change the way I see certain things and people. I judge you not, but for your benefit look deep into your heart and ask yourself could this be a form of racism?

Margaret Carroll


Two-party system doesn't serve citizens

To the Editor:

A friend in the Constitution Party e-mailed me the link to John Carney's story about Chris Brown potentially being excluded from a likely upcoming debate in the TN House 62nd District special election.

From June of 2004 until my resignation in April of 2008, I was the state spokesman for the Constitution Party. That month, after the CP spurned Ambassador Alan Keyes as its presidential candidate, several officials of the Constitution Party and the Republican Party broke away and founded America's Independent Party. By August of 2008, AIP had surpassed the CP to become the third-largest political party in the United States.

America's Independent Party supports political coalition-building, but without compromising our principles. Therefore, AIP supports candidate Chris Brown's right to equal treatment at any debates. We encourage civic organizations, broadcast stations, and/or your newspaper to host such debates in the public interest, and to include all candidates.

Let the voters decide!

The election laws of Tennessee are currently structured in such a way as to suppress both free choice and coalition building. For example, not only does the state exclude all but the "Big Two" parties on statewide ballots (except for presidential races, which are governed by Federal rules), but the Tennessee election law also prohibits cross-endorsements! Thus, if a candidate represented views that were satisfactory to more than one party, Tennessee would prohibit all but one of those parties from putting that candidate on the ballot. And, under the provisions of the nicknamed "Incumbent Protection Bill" that the Democrats sponsored, and Gov. Bredesen signed into law three years ago, it is now twice as difficult for smaller parties to gain a ballot line, because that law doubled the number of petition signatures required. That law was unfair to voters, and was likely un-Constitutional. But, smaller parties lack the funds to fight it ... and Bredesen knows it.

Mr. Brown's predicament is a microcosm of a much larger problem in Tennessee politics.

Voters should rise up against the "Big Two", and demand a better system. (And, for the record, no candidate in the referenced special election has so far sought AIP endorsement. So, we don't have a dog in that fight. This is simply a statement of a larger principle.)

Tom Kovach

Mount Juliet

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  • Ms. Carroll, Bush never once said that there were Nuclear weapons in Iraq. He said due to intelligence that he and Great Britain had received that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Which, at one time he did. The issue with Obama's speech to the children of the country was due to the not knowing what he was planning to speak of. He just stated that the White House was going to speak to students across America, and gave no reason or what the speech was about, and only did so when it was questioned. When past Presidents spoke to children the White House did not put out a lesson plane for teachers to follow before and after the speech. Obama did, and even some of that was revised when some people took issue with why some questions were being asked. Every thing Obama has done to this point has a well calculated reason and desired effect. With everything his administration has done, it would be wise of the people of this nation to question and not follow blindly our leaders, and that would pertain to any administration. They work for us, not the other way around, although with some in Washington I believe this point was lost a long time ago.

    -- Posted by docudrama on Sat, Sep 19, 2009, at 2:36 AM
  • "I judge you not, but for your benefit look deep into your heart and ask yourself could this be a form of racism?" From Margaret Carroll's letter to the editor.

    I can see that the main stream media has reached another lamb. How could you even bring up the word racism? If any person, disagrees with the all mighty Obama. They are a racist? The fact that I do not approve of the way the Health care issue is being pushed and has to be taken care of right now with no forethought. I'm a racist? The fact that I thought it was a waste of tax payer dollars on this Cash for Clunkers car program. I'm a racist? Or the fact that I did not agree with the federal government replacing the CEO of GM. I'm a racist? The fact that I did not agree with the federal bail out, which I might add that Bush started and Obama added to. I'm a racist? The fact that I questioned the reason for the President wanting to speak to my children when I had no idea as to why and what he was going to speak about. I'm a racist? I would question any of these issues be it from a Black or a White President. I am not a racist; I am a concerned citizen of the greatest nation on this planet.

    -- Posted by docudrama on Sat, Sep 19, 2009, at 2:57 AM
  • Were you concerned about what Bush was going to say to your child when he spoke to school kids. I dont remember it even being an issue then. And as for cash for clunkers are you not happy that it put people back to work. People complaining about Obama now should have spoke up and protested more when Bush got us into 2 unneccesary wars and gave large tax cuts to the wealthy.

    -- Posted by lets be real on Sat, Sep 19, 2009, at 9:18 PM
  • The cash for clunkers scam didn't put more people to work. It did destroy second hand cars that would have been more affordable to the working class, and encouraged people to go further into debt for a shiny new car.

    As for the tax cuts, the top 50% of wage earners pay 96% of all income taxes, as the "poor" pay zero income tax. So any tax cut will automatically benefit the wealthy.But guess what? IT'S THEIR MONEY!!! Don't buy into the class warfare of the democrats. All they are selling is dependency and jealousy.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Sep 19, 2009, at 10:07 PM
  • when most adult men and women and member of congress don't understand what Obama and his con-men are doing, no matter what color he is or what color you or I am,what they as a group are doing for our so called good is hog wash,all their bailout's help big business,auto,czar's that Obama has in place,not the working class or poor and they will bankrupt this great country of ours

    -- Posted by carter on Sun, Sep 20, 2009, at 12:13 PM
  • Types of Tax Shelters

    A tax shelter is a legal technique used by taxpayers, whether individuals or businesses, to reduce taxable income. The lower your taxable income, the less you pay in taxes. When you use a legal, legitimate tax shelter, you are avoiding taxes, which should not be confused with evading taxes.

    Tax shelters include investments or deposits in accounts that are not heavily taxed, such as retirement accounts. Other shelters include "transactions that lower taxable income," such as charitable donations [source: Investopedia].


    IT is through "tax shelters" (that the middle class can not afford to hide under) that the wealthy are able to get away without actually paying the tax rate they are said to be paying. The higher the income, the higher the tax bracket, the more chances of affording tax shelters to get them out of paying what they owe. Many wealthy are able to afford so many shelters they end up paying taxes rates more in line with the poverty level. They may start out at 35% but after their deductions they lower it way below that. Yes they pay 35% but on only a small portion of their income,if you compare the actual taxes paid to the actual income made ( not what was left after the deductions for the shelters) then that rate is greatly reduced, often times to levels much lower than the middle to lower income brackets.

    You get in the middle class and once the children are grown and out of the nest, chances are they do not have the income needed to invest in all the shelters and they actually have to pay the rate they are are charged on all of their income unlike those who can afford the shelters that give them all the "write offs" to off set the rate they are charged.

    I'm not against paying my share in taxes , and I don't believe anyone should ever have to pay 35% or higher. But to say they are paying that much is very deceptive at best since when all is said and done, and the tax forms filled and balanced very few of them actually end up paying near that much.

    -- Posted by LetsGetRealFolks on Sun, Sep 20, 2009, at 12:18 PM
  • Mr. Editor.

    As we enter into the fall season, I am starting too start the fight for the sovernty of our nation and our country. please read this news release about our borders.

    Hidden in Plain Sight

    by Glenn Spencer -- September 20, 2009

    I worked my way through college working at Rocketdyne, the company that built the first, second and third stages of the moon rocket. I was very young, married with a baby and a second soon to arrive.

    I worked in the Engine Analysis Section of the engineering department of Rocketdyne. We analyzed rocket engine test data to see where improvements were needed. I learned how to program computers to process rocket test data.

    At one point I worked with physical chemist Dr. Eugene Tkachenko on a very complex program to study the thermodynamic characteristics of liquid sodium. Liquid sodium was being considered as a coolant for an atomic reactor that might be used to send men to Mars. We were in a race to the moon and some people in Washington thought we might have to go to Mars if the Russians got to the moon first. No kidding.

    I was also on the analytical team that worked to solve the problem of combustion instability of the F-1 rocket engine. Five of these 1.5 million pound thrust monsters were to push the Apollo astronauts off the launch pad, but they were exploding. I did the vector computer graphics that helped us understand what was happening in the combustion chamber. Injection baffles solved the problem.

    To finish college I needed to start attending day classes. Rocketdyne arranged to transfer me to the engine test facility at Santa Susanna where night work was available. (They had no second shift in the Engineering Department at Canoga Park.) On the day I was to leave they had a going away luncheon for me. Arriving back at the office I was told that I wasn't leaving the engineering department after all because management had set up a special second shift for me to do computer work beginning at 2:30 p.m. and ending at 11:00 p.m. This allowed me to attend day classes while working full-time. Classes started at 8 a.m. and I finished work at 11:00 p.m. I did this for two years. My wife did not work, but attended classes as well. (I had no student loans or other government help - I did it all myself)

    By the time I graduated with degrees in economics and mathematics I had four years of experience in computer programming and high grades in mathematical statistics.

    After graduation I was recruited by small Sherman Oaks think tank where I went on to develop large-scale computer simulation models of complex systems. I spent seven years in systems engineering working with some very smart people. My team included a summa *** laude graduate in mathematics from UCLA (Jim Howard) and an engineering graduate from Harvard (Hyman Kolkowitz). They worked for me.

    My work in large systems analysis led to a brief assignment with a small team of analysts to perform an independent review of the war in Southeast Asia. This was done under Col. Edwin Triner, USAF, of the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group (WSEG), Joint Chiefs of Staff. I worked in the Pentagon. Our analysis led us to ask questions about the overall goals of the war and what data were available to evaluate progress. We learned there was a great deal of military data, but not much that related to the goals of the war except things like the Hamlet Evaluation System in the State Department.

    In developing computer models and doing systems engineering I learned that in order to properly design a system one first had to know its objectives and how to measure performance. The computer program needed a bottom line. It wouldn't work without one.

    Working alongside McNamara's "whiz kids" I learned that systems must not be designed by how something is done (means orientation), but the objective of the system (requirements orientation).


    After leaving Washington, D.C. my career took many turns. My last major job in the 80s was as Vice President, General Manager and half-owner of Arrowstar, Inc., a seismic oil exploration company with clients that included Chevron, Arco and Texaco. It was very successful in finding oil and making money.

    Focus on Illegal Immigration

    In 1992 I decided to retire and devote myself full-time to the problem of illegal immigration. I spent the next ten years working with others to try to solve the problem in California. We had some wins, most notably Proposition 187, but for the most part, as with Proposition 187, the California liberal establishment always figured out a way to defeat us.

    Move to Border

    In 2002 I decided to leave California and move to Arizona and focus on the border. My thinking was that a good general picks his battlefield, and, as this was to be my last battle, I needed a good one.

    The border problem, I thought, was fairly simple: "Here is the law, here is the line -- what is the problem?" Besides, all of the arguments used to fight immigration law enforcement -- You can't kick a kid out of school -- You can't deny someone health care -- The man is only working to feed his children -- didn't apply at the border.

    I formulated my plan for the border based largely on Muriel Watson's Light Up the Border campaign. Muriel had used the lights of automobiles to show illegal aliens flooding across the border south of San Diego. This led to the construction of the San Diego border fence.

    I asked Muriel what she thought of using the Internet to "light up the border." She said, "That's a good idea." Thus was born American Border Patrol.

    American Border Patrol

    American Border Patrol, ABP, was started in Sierra Vista, Arizona in June of 2002. It was set up as a 501 c (3) non-profit corporation. The board of directors included Ron Sanders, recently retired Chief of the Tucson Sector of the Border Patrol and Bill King, the man who ran the 1986 amnesty program, and a former Chief Border Patrol Agent himself.

    I produced a video called "The American Border Patrol Story" and put it online. It showed how we planned to use things like the Internet and unmanned aerial vehicles to bring the truth about the border to the American people. It helped recruit some young technical talent who joined me in November of 2002.

    For the next three years ABP did some miraculous stuff, including sending live video of border crossers out over the Internet -- and at night. We developed our own unmanned aerial vehicle and flew it to spot border crossers -- and it at night! And we did a lot more. (A chronological list of activities can be found here)

    Border Patrol Management Problems

    It didn't take long for me to realize, however, that the Border Patrol had a real problem. Try as I might, I could find not find where it had set measurable goals and objectives. Everyone knew that their job was to stop illegal immigration, but no one knew how much there really was.

    There is an axiom of systems management; If you can't measure it, you can't improve it. I began to think that maybe the government didn't want to count illegal border crossers because it didn't really want to stop them.

    On June 3, 2004 I appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight and said, "This system is designed to fail without the American people knowing it."

    Over the next four years I repeated this claim. (Search AmericanPatrol.com site for 'designed to fail' for a complete list)

    On March 20, 2005 I proposed the development of a computer model of Border Patrol Operations: "To do so would require that they adopt a figure of merit ­ a public statement of the goal of the Border Patrol," I said.

    In early 2006, I produced a video: The U.S. Border Patrol, How It Works, and Why it Doesn't. Once again, I called on the government to set measurable goals for the Border Patrol.

    Strategic Border Initiative SBI

    In early 2006, DHS went public with its Strategic Border Initiative SBI and SBInet, a virtual fence concept.

    After four years of frustration over government's failure to manage the border problem, I exploded. I called the SBI the Strategic Bullsh*t Initiative. I said, "Nowhere does SBI spell out a goal that can be measured. This is all of the same nonsense we have seen for years. The program will be run by open borders people at DHS/CBP and will accomplish absolutely nothing except lull the people into a false sense of security."

    It turns out I was right. (Boeing virtual fence: $30 billion failure -- ZDNet )

    The issue of border control ratcheted up with the signing of the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Besides requiring the construction of 700 miles of double-layered border fence, the act mandated a systematic evaluation of the effort.

    Words from the Secure Fence Act of 2006

    "Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the progress made toward achieving and maintaining operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States in accordance with this section."

    Operational Control Defined

    In this section, the term 'operational control' means the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband."

    Did DHS Report?

    Not only did the DHS not report, a recent report from the Governmental Accountability Office points to the failure of DHS to measure its progress as the main reason for failure of border enforcement.

    (See: Secure Border Initiative: Technology Deployment Delays Persist and the Impact of Border Fencing Has Not Been Assessed). "For all the money spent, the department has not set up a way to evaluate the fences' impact, relying mainly on the judgment of senior Border Patrol agents," the New York Times reported.

    It is interesting to note that Mr. Richard Stana of the GAO has been calling on the DHS to measure progress on the border since 2003.

    Means Orientation

    It isn't as if DHS runs around with no plan at all. They do have a plan.

    In January of 2006, the acting director of the SBInet project said the goal of the system was to "Gain, maintain and expand." He didn't exactly say what. He went on to say you do this by doing three things

    Detect -- Identify/Classify/Respond

    (I go into detail on this thinking here) -- DHS used this brilliant logic to focus on developing a COP -- Common Operating Picture. This involves the use of radars, computers, and all sorts of neat devices designed to keep Border Patrol agents informed.

    This is what we call a means orientation -- focusing on how to do something without regard to the real mission; in this case stopping illegal immigration.

    Measuring Effectiveness

    Measuring the effectiveness of border enforcement is not rocket science. (I used to do rocket science.) The Secure Fence Act of 2006 said the objective of DHS is the "prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States."

    A measure of how well the DHS is doing is how many persons enter the U.S. illegally. If one counted everyone who crossed the border illegally and subtracted those who were apprehended by the Border Patrol, the result would be a measure of how well the Border Patrol is doing.

    It is not realistic to expect the Border Patrol to stop every single person, but a realistic goal could be set. I suggested a goal of no more than 20,000 people crossing the border successfully.

    The first step in this process is to actually count the number of people entering illegally. For the past couple of years bordeinvasionpics.com has been counting people on trails entering the U.S. using remote game cameras. Also, American Border Patrol counted hundreds of illegal border crossers using its border cameras.

    Counting Border Crossers

    There is no doubt that DHS has the technology and resources to count the number of people crossing the border. After all, they cross in plain sight.

    DHS could mount hidden cameras on all of its border fences dedicated to just counting crossers. It could place hidden cameras on all of the trails leading into the U.S. for the same purpose. It could use its Predator B unmanned aerial systems to perform thermal photos surveys. And there are plenty of other ways they could come up with a pretty good count of border crossers. All that would be left, then, is to subtract the number they apprehend and there you have it.

    The history of the DHS tells me that they will not even try to count border crossers. They do not want us to know how well they are doing so they will probably come up with some lame excuse as to why they can't. Pushed further they would probably agree to try to do it and then take ten years to reach a conclusion that they failed.

    Operation Plain Sight

    It is time for us to take matters into our own hands. It is time for American to do what our government refuses to do -- count the border crossers.

    On October 15, American Border Patrol will launch Operation Plain Sight. The purpose will be to show how it is possible to county the number of people who cross our borders illegally. It will involve using the technology it has developed over the past seven years, and more. It will involve volunteers along the border, including pilots. It will involve placing remote cameras. It will involve volunteer "spotters" who will stand watch at key locations. It will involve using aircraft such as ABP's new Challenger II to catch people at night.

    The goal of Operation Plain Sight is not to county everyone who crosses the border. The goal is to show that it is possible and that the DHS could do it if it was forced to.

    In 2004 American Border Patrol demonstrated how unmanned aerial vehicles could be use along the border. This prompted the Border Patrol to purchase its own UAVs. In 2005 ABP demonstrated the use of border cams to spot illegals. The State of Texas adopted the idea.

    We believe that Operation Plain Sight is doable. We hope others agree and join in on the effort.

    -- Posted by american patrol minuteman on Sun, Sep 20, 2009, at 4:07 PM
  • Almost all the tax shelters you speak of have been systematically closed over the past 20-30 years.

    On the other hand, there have been several new entitlement programs set up to give tax "refunds" to poor people who haven't even paid any taxes in the first place.

    The "poor" also use social services and infrastructure far more than the "rich" and FAR out of proportion to the amount they pay into the system.

    As far as investments to avoid paying taxes, that is exactly what conservatives have been pointing out for decades. If taxes are lowered,"rich" people will invest that money by hiring more employees, buying or restoring old equipment, or expanding their capabilities-all of which create more jobs and boost the economy.

    Every employer I have ever worked for would be considered wealthy. I also know that any measure designed to "punish" the wealthy will only be passed down the line and have a greater effect on the middle class and poor.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Sep 20, 2009, at 6:31 PM
  • Actually, Cash for Clunkers has created an even worse problem . . .


    It looks like the program didn't solve any real problems. Maybe we can do the same with health care and see how much we bleed out before everyone realize what a mistake it was to follow Obama's plan.

    In regards to Margaret Carroll, I was agreeing with some of her points in the letter she wrote but she lost any credibility by suggesting at the end that anyone who disagrees with Obama's actions must be racist. That kind of reasoning is sad and pathetic and only exaggerates the divide between real discussion and debate and political pandering. Maybe in her case it is best if she is better seen than not heard.

    -- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Sep 21, 2009, at 11:28 AM
  • Yeah. She could have done without the last sentence. But I think that is all she is missing on. I'm not sure what people were expecting from the President's message to the students, and was/am appalled at the censorship. Only in a Red State...

    It's a wonder we don't have an Army of Young Left Wingers rising out of the schools that listened to the President's address. C'mon guys, c'mon.

    -- Posted by jtm2y on Wed, Sep 23, 2009, at 10:55 PM
  • I still say that it was very wrong for ED GRAY to use censorship to back his political agenda. He put politics before the students. It is that simple. His only lesson was to teach disrespect for the position of President of our nation. Parents had the choice to keep their children from seeing it. You can bet if it had been a republican President he would not have made that choice.

    -- Posted by LetsGetRealFolks on Mon, Sep 28, 2009, at 11:10 AM
  • quietmike, If your numbers are accurate (and I fully believe they are), that means that the only people with any money are the top 50%. Where do they get their money? They get it by extracting it from the bottom 50% in one fashion or another.

    Actually, the picture becomes clearer when we look at the top 10% as opposed to the top 50%. What becomes clear is that they have become so proficient at extracting the value of the majority, that there is nothing left for the majority to pay income taxes with.

    Everyone pays taxes, if not the Federal Income Tax, then many others.

    The rich are the only users of social services. If they could not depend on social services to augment exceedingly low wages, they would have to pay higher wages, or lower their prices accordingly so the majority could purchase them. Do you imagine HCA wants to end all government healthcare or that Kellogg's hopes to abolish food stamps? Do you think Wal-Mart wants to see an end to either program? The wealthy (and their investments) are also the largest consumers of infrastructure.

    The wealthy may invest capital if there is a return anticipated, but that is not always the case. I do not understand what additional investment in China would do for us anyway.

    I agree that further taxing the wealthy is not a viable solution and as you wrote, will be passed down. Letting the wealthy have free reign is not a solution either though.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Fri, Oct 9, 2009, at 3:52 AM
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